HB104: Criminalize the violent death of unborn fetus

Proponents of this bill argue that pregnant women are frequently targeted for abuse, because they are pregnant. This bill would define a fetus as an unborn person. Thus defined, the fetus would become a victim separate from the mother, and fetal death could be charged as murder, manslaughter, etc. The usual supporters (abortion opponents) lined up to support the bill at the first hearing on January 14, basically downplaying the idea that defining a fetus as an unborn person would have any impact outside this legislation.

Opponents, the usual mix of pro-choice groups, argued that domestic violence bills would be better targeted at protecting the fetal hosts: the mothers.They argue that this legislation would open up any miscarriage to proscecutorial investigation, and cited examples in Mexico (where similar legislation exists) of jails filled with women who had miscarriages but were jailed for killing their fetus because of inadequate legal representation. We think that these types of bills are wasteful attempts to inject unpopular sanctions for the exercise of rights currently enjoyed by women.

The proponents of this bill know they cannot push through a bill banning abortions, so they are attempting to edge their way towards this goal through a wasteful process that injects needless bureaucratic invasion into personal health decisions. Further, proponents of this bill have not produced any data relating to the size of the problem that this bill potentially addresses. This bill is a pernicious, sideways attempt to address an unstated problem other than the one cited in the bill. It needs to be removed from consideration quickly.